Lakshya Bhargava's 'Three Tauruses' Is A Powerful Snapshot Of Queer Joy & Resilience

Three Tauruses
Three TaurusesLakshya Bhargava

Lakshya Bhargava is a Ghaziabad-based artist who intersects an exceptional mastery of artistic craft with complex and multifaceted expressions of queer identity, societal freedom, and gender equality. We caught up with them recently to find out more about their larger creative practice as well a their recent project, 'Three Tauruses'.

Tell us a little about this project.

“Three Taurses” is a heartfelt painting that commemorates the joint birthday celebration of myself and two queer friends I met in Bangalore. Our birthdays fall within the same week, and for the past three years, we have joyously celebrated together. These intimate gatherings are vital to my existence, helping me navigate the structures of heteronormativity and the conscious and subconscious negotiations we perform in everyday life.

As a queer person, creating our own family and community becomes essential. Space-making is an act of co-creation within normative frameworks such as parties, gatherings, and marches. These spaces allow us to survive, feel free, grow, and explore. They challenge the notion of how we perform our conditioning and gender as a daily ritual. What does it mean to inhabit a space? How does a space, with its multiple histories and stories, define itself?

While creating this artwork, I also reflected on the significance of the number three, which disrupts binary thinking. It's inspired by Raphael’s 'The Three Graces'.

Describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create.

My works are based on inquiries concerning my memories, fantasies, exploration of self, queer experiences, queer friendships and scenes of empowerment which I started to discover once. It revolves around the ideas of invisibility, fragmented display of reality, and partial truths embedded in everyday conversations and life.

My process of image-making is a reflection of memories and conversations that I have with my queer friends.These unapologetic engagements are crucial to my being and help me navigate through the structures of heteronormativity and how in everyday life there are so many negotiations that are consciously or subconsciously being performed. These depictions of fragmented memories eventually become statements of question, hints for scrutiny and to bring out the alternative realities that exist but aren't accessible due to under-grounding and maintenance of the closed spaces away from homophobia.

What are some of your biggest inspirations and influences over the course of your artistic career so far?

My biggest influence as an artist has been my childhood memories as a gay fem kid, which I now look back on through a new lens. The people around me have also played a significant role in shaping my perspective. I have a deep interest in queer histories and the concept of fluidity — whether it’s the fluidity of painting, the fluidity of human experiences, or the fluidity of nature. This fascination extends to language, where I explore the idea of not defining something with a fixed definition.

Artistically, I’ve been profoundly influenced by Joseph Albers and his understanding of color as its own language. Other artists who have impacted my work include Rembrandt, Vermeer, Sunil Gupta, Cindy Sherman, Claude Cahun, Carrie Mayweems, David Hockney etc. Additionally, the queer art movements and themes of identity have been central to my practice. My influences are constantly evolving as I continue to explore new mediums and ideas.

I was born and brought up in a small city named Ghaziabad located in India. I moved away from my home and started to live by myself in Bengaluru during my Bachelors. Bengaluru has provided me with space, time and supportive people away from my family to explore my sexual orientation.

Growing up as a closeted queer kid in a city like Ghaziabad and looking at my friends and parents, I understood that individuals are largely conditioned and thus, function from a place of gendered perspectives and prejudices that in various manners affect their perception and interaction outside of themselves. Queer joy is elusive but vital. Celebrating marginalised subcultures and individuals is crucial abd offering displays of existence in someone's life often beccomes an act of resistance.

What are some things you learned while putting this project together?

Working on “Three Taurses” allowed me to reflect on the relationships and connections that have shaped my journey. It was a reminder of the strength and resilience found in chosen families and the importance of celebrating these bonds, celebrating marginalised subcultures and individuals.

Who are some artists who are currently on your radar?

Salman Toor, Sunil Gupta, Lisa Yuskavage, and Tracy Emin.

You can follow Lakshya here.